Thursday, December 10, 2009

TV Memories as a Child

You hear it all the time. 90's TV was great and today's television programs suck. Why exactly is that? My parents would argue that 50's, 60's and 70's programming was better than the 90's, with I Love Lucy, The Munsters, and Gilligan's Island. Is it really just a generational thing? It seems to be that way. My 6 year old cousin, Gracie, loves Hannah Montana, Jonas, Spongebob Squarepants, iCarly, etc. Sure we may think these shows are stupid, but isn't it just because we're young adults now? I can imagine her saying when she's our age that the early 2000's had the best television.

Me and my sister reminisce about the shows we watched when we were younger all the time. We can sit for hours just naming different shows because there were so many shows on TV and they were all good. At least by our standards. I'll bet if I went up to any kid born in the late 80's-early 90's and asked them what their favorite show as a kid was they couldn't pick just one. Some shows I know that would come up often are Rugrats, Boy Meets World, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps, Double Dare, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. What made these shows so good? Was it just because that's what was on or were they really good shows?

I'm sure this has happened to everyone. You remember loving something as a child: a particular show, maybe a movie, or even a food that's no longer made. They are impossible to find, but one day by accident you somehow find a short clip on Youtube or you find episodes on DVD and there is nothing in the world that can match your excitement. It's like the Superbowl, Christmas, and a snow day from school all rolled into one. So, you watch the clip or buy the DVD to watch an episode and you're anticipating all the enjoyment you felt as a kid to come rushing back and after you watch it you go "Well that sucked. I can't believe I used to love that." It's happened to me at least once. It makes me wonder was this how our parents felt when we couldn't get enough of Ren and Stimpy? Were they thinking What a stupid show. I can't believe they made a show like that for kids. (The sexual innuendos and racism in children's shows in past decades is a whole other issue I won't get into here.) Our perception's of things change from being a kid to a teen to an adult. Culture and society changes too. Our frame of mind right now is different than it was when we were younger and completely different than today's kids. I mean iCarly couldn't have existed when we were kids because there was no internet in the early 90's and when the internet started to grow as the 90's came to an end, a Web show was impossible. So, if we were kids now would we be saying today's TV sucks? Probably not because it would speak to our generation, not to mention we would have nothing to compare it to being so young.

But, to get back to the whole re-discovering something you loved situation. Most times when I find something again it is just as great as the first time, but on different levels. There's layers to the shows that you didn't understand as a child or something you never picked up before (like a joke you didn't understand then, but you do now). A couple of weeks ago I was channel surfing and found A Pup Named Scooby Doo and I freaked out. This was one of my favorite shows as a kid, not to mention part of my everyday routine. It would be on at 11 and 11:30 every weekday. My mom would make me lunch (usually Spaghetti-O's, my favorite) and I would sit down and watch it with my array of dolls and stuffed animals as my dad got ready for work. He usually headed out during a commercial break and he would kiss me goodbye. I couldn't imagine life being any better. So, when I found it the other day all those memories, traditions, and routine came flooding back and I was a kid again for 30 minutes as I watched it. Unfortunately, there were no Spaghetti-O's in my cupboard, but the show was good enough.

I do feel that 90's TV was better than today's television, but I'm biased. Just like everyone else. Everyone is going to say the shows they loved as a kid are the best because of the memories and emotions we associate with those specific shows. So maybe it isn't so much the actual show, but our state of mind and whats going on around us when we watch them. That's why our perception of TV shows are always changing, it's because we are always changing and our minds are always changing.

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